As I take the long, long journey home again, I am reflecting on what has been the most memorable during this trip. I have to say, other than the remarkable lovely people on the donor trip, the part that impacted me most this time was the depth of love our beneficiaries express for Help Lesotho. I know that sounds corny but it is truly tangible, reiterated often and in such touching ways.
One tiny example is the response of a little girl at the Centre. She was asked to draw a smiley face on one side of a paper plate and what makes her happy on the other. What makes her happy is Help Lesotho!
Shadrack, the entire staff and I are determined that our programs always be delivered with respect and love – despite their serious, often very emotional content – and what I/we experience is that love pouring back to us. It has overwhelmed me many times and I have to fight back tears. When given the chance, our beneficiaries do not ask for anything for themselves, they only want to thank us – it is extraordinary and consistent in every village, school, session and graduate.
The other side of this deeply moving appreciation is the children and adults who go to such lengths to raise the funds for the programs.One little school district in New Brunswick, Anglophone North, under the leadership of Gary Branch, has raised over $100,000 for Help Lesotho since 2006!! Imagine!
Don’t listen to the awful messages on the news – the world is filled with generous, caring people who are stepping up to do what they can for others.
We are here not only to change people’s lives but to save people’s lives. Lesotho continues to have the 2nd highest rate of HIV/AIDS (25% of people are HIV-positive) and the 1st highest rate of TB in the world. Our work is needed more than ever: Help Lesotho remains as one of the few sources of hope the Basotho can turn to.
Just before I left, our staff were preparing for a new program called the ‘Pearl Program’ which is funded by our Pearls4Girls social enterprise. The Pearl Program will work with 50+ grade seven girls to build their self-esteem and prepare them for making healthy decisions amidst the peer pressure they will inevitably face at high school next year. High school starts at grade eight here so they are still so little. I noticed a tiny little girl watching the preparations. She kept staring at the t-shirts with pink writing that said “I am a Pearl Girl”! One of our staff told her what was happening and she replied (in Sesotho),
“I want to be a Pearl Girl when I grow up”!
I took her for a little walk in the field for a visit. I will remember her and hope to see her in the Pearl Program in a few years!
Before I left, the cosmos flowers were in full bloom – my favourite.
In my last letter, I wrote of us receiving permission for a huge parcel of land adjacent to our Hlotse Centre and that we needed to fence it properly. This week, one of the guests on our donor trip offered $5,000 toward its construction and will match the funds we raise up until the $25,000 we need! Yet another miracle! Another guest came home and doubled their monthly donation amount. As I said – they are amazing!
I hear from so many people who are awed by the work being done in Lesotho. I send this praise right back to each of you. YOU are the reason we are able to accomplish so much. Please keep telling your friends and family about the ways they too can help change the lives of people in Lesotho. Our work grows because our donors are respected for their judgement – and they tell their friends. It is as simple as that. Here are a few concrete ways you can really help us:
- Please ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ at least one post on our Facebook page every week. The posts are real-time sharing of what is happening with programs and beneficiaries on a near daily basis. Your network will be able to see what all the excitement at Help Lesotho is about!
- Host or co-host a home or business party for our Pearls4Girls program if you are within a days’ driving distance of Ottawa. Before Mother’s Day would be a great time for a sale to raise funds for Help Lesotho’s girls’ leadership programs!
- Now that I am back, I am keen to book new speaking engagements. If your church, community group, or school would be interested in hearing about development work in Lesotho, please let me know. I love the chance to connect with new people, but I need your help to make these opportunities available.
- Lastly, please share my ‘Letters from Lesotho’ with your network! This link has all six letters from my 2017 trip.
It has been a wonderful trip but I am looking forward to going home and to seeing my sons and their families, not to mention having consistent high-speed internet, unlimited water and electricity! So much has happened. It seems a long time.
Over the next months, please reach out and let me know how you are. You are an important member of our Help Lesotho family.
Best wishes – and thank you for walking this journey with me.
Salang hantle (stay well)
P.S. Our Annual Report 2015-2016 is now published and available here. You will be happy to know that 90% of our revenue went to programs! Thank you RE/MAX Hallmark Realty for our donated office space in Ottawa – it allows us to send more funds to Lesotho!
PPS We are hosting a ‘Brunch with Peg’ on April 22 in Ottawa. There are eight tickets left. If you live nearby and can join us to see some photos and hear the stories of my trip – please reserve your ticket soon! See my personal invitation to you here.
As Help Lesotho’s Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Peg Herbert spends at least two months a year living and working in Lesotho. As a Canadian exemplifying what good international development looks like, Peg shares her experiences through ‘Letters from Lesotho’ so we can all get a glimpse of what makes Lesotho such a special place.
If you would like to connect with Peg about her letters: